This bill — known as the Puppy Protection Act — would establish housing and treatment standards that dog dealers must abide by, which include mandatory exercise and interaction periods for the dogs in addition to limitations on breeding. The bill would also require that appropriate and nutritious food be fed to the dogs in an amount to keep them healthy at least twice per day, and continuous access to potable water that’s free of contaminants.
In terms of the dogs’ housing, the bill would require:
Completely solid flooring;
Enough space to allow the tallest dog to stand on his or her hind legs without touching the enclosure’s roof;
Temperatures appropriate for the age, breed, and condition of the dogs that’s between 45 and 85 degrees when dogs are present.
Enclosures that aren’t stacked or placed on top of or below another enclosure;
At least 12 square feet for each dog up to 25 inches long; 20 square feet for each dog between 25 and 35 inches long; and 30 square feet for each dog 35 inches or longer.
To ensure adequate exercise, dogs over the age of 12 weeks would be required to have unfettered access from their enclosures during daylight to an enclosed, outdoor area that’s at ground-level and a solid surface, controlled for the dogs’ safety, and twice the space required for their housing.
Dogs would have to have at least 30 minutes of meaningful socialization with humans and compatible dogs that includes positive interactions such as petting, stroking, grooming, playing with, or other touching that's beneficial to the dogs' well-being. Veterinary care wouldn’t count toward that requirement, but dogs would have to receive a hands-on veterinary exam at least once per year along with core vaccinations, and medications as needed.
Female dogs would be prohibited from producing more than two litters in any 18-month period or more than six litters in that dog’s lifetime. Breeds weighing less than 40 pounds when mature couldn’t be bred before the age of 18 months or after the age of 9 years. Larger breeds weighing over 40 pounds when mature couldn’t be bred before the age of 2 years or after the age of 7 years. Dealers would be required to make all reasonable efforts to find humane placement for retired breeding dogs, which couldn’t include placement with another breeder for breeding purposes or selling at auction.
Within 18 months of this bill’s enactment the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) would be required to issue final regulations implementing standards for the care of dogs in dealer facilities.